Aesthetics Wiki

Mod is a subculture that began in London in 1958 and spread throughout Great Britain and elsewhere, eventually influencing fashions and trends in other countries, and continues today on a smaller scale. Focused on music and fashion, the subculture has its roots in a small group of stylish London-based young men in the late 1950s who were termed modernists because they listened to modern jazz. Elements of the mod subculture include fashion (often tailor-made suits); music (including soul, rhythm and blues, ska, jazz, and freakbeat); and Italian motor scooters (usually Lambretta or Vespa). The original mod scene was associated with amphetamine-fuelled all-night dancing at clubs. Mods were known for their violent behaviour when in groups, mainly toward the rival subculture of 'Rockers,' who focused on American music, clothing and motorcycles contrasting the Mod's Italian styles.


As Mod became more cosmopolitan during the "Swinging London" period, some working class "street mods" splintered off, forming other groups such as what eventually became known as Skinheads. There was a Mod revival in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s, which attempted to replicate the "scooter" period look and styles of the early to mid-1960s. It was followed by a similar mod revival in North America in the early 1980s, particularly in southern California.

Mod Revival[]

Mod revival was a music genre and subculture that started in England in 1978 with the popularity of The Who's film Quadrophenia, and later spread to other countries (to a lesser degree). The mod revival's mainstream popularity was relatively short, although its influence lasted for decades. The mod revival post-dated a Teddy Boy revival, and mod revivalists sometimes clashed with Teddy Boy revivalists, skinhead revivalists, casuals, punks and rival gang members.



  • Straight or A-line dresses worn above the knee in fabrics that hold their shape
  • Geometric shift dress (example: the Mondrian dress)
  • Op Art prints
  • Bold, geometric patterns like British flags, polka-dots, and stripes
  • Mid-calf white go-go boots with pointed toes and flat heels
  • Chelsea boots
  • Mary Janes
  • Low kitten heels and flats
  • Plastic-belted trench coat
  • Knitted jersey mini-dresses with opaque and colorful tights
  • "Wet look" PVC coats
  • Skinny-rib knitted sweaters in stripes or solid bright block colors
  • Patent-leather square-toed shoes and pilgrim shoes with buckles
  • Bold white/blue/gray eye shadow applied all over the eyelid
  • White/nude lipstick or lips painted over with pale matte foundation
  • Groomed natural eyebrows
  • Thick black winged eyeliner applied all the way around the eye
  • Thick mascara or doll-like false eyelashes
  • Sheepskin coats
  • Suede/leather mini-coats
  • Dresses with low-slung, wide loops to hold a hipster belt
  • Plain or button-up A-line miniskirts worn with sandals in warmer months and knee-high boots in colder months
  • Tunic dresses worn over polo-neck sweaters
  • Ankle-length bell-bottom trousers
  • Beehive hair or short bob with bangs
  • "Five point" Vidal Sassoon haircut: a short, angular five pointed pixie cut.
  • Large plastic bracelets
  • Huge round plastic earrings clipped on the ear
  • Lucite rings with polka dots
  • Big or small boxy over-the-shoulder handbags in bright colors, or geometric designs
  • Clear/white painted almond-shaped nails
  • Peter Pan collars


  • Tailor-made three-button black/grey/brown suits with narrow lapels, vests, and pocket squares
  • Thin ties
  • Button-down collar shirts
  • Wool/cashmere jumpers (crewneck or V-neck)
  • Chelsea or Beatle boots
  • Clarks Desert lace-up boots
  • Oxfords
  • Levis jeans, shrunk to fit
  • Slim-fit chinos or tapered trousers
  • Either a Fred Perry polo shirt or John Smedley knit polo shirt buttoned all the way to the top
  • Turtleneck
  • Green/tan parka to protect your outfit while riding on your scooter
  • Newsboy caps
  • Brightly striped boating blazers
  • Harrington jacket
  • Shaggy hair or a bowl haircut
  • Buttons from mod bands and British flag pins
  • Round glasses



The Mid-60s Mod scene opened the way for bands such The Who, Small Faces and The Kinks; All of which were popular around the first wave of mods.

The British rock/Britpop band Blur played an important role in the Mod revival in the 1990s in the U.K. A Mod revival/Punk Rock band called The Jam spearheaded the Mod revival movement in the 1970's, with the head of the band, Paul Weller, often called "The Modfather."

Musical Artists[]

  • The Beatles
  • The Who
  • The Small Faces
  • The Kinks
  • The Rolling Stones
  • The Yardbirds
  • The Creation
  • The Animals
  • The Spencer Davis Group
  • The High Numbers (early incarnation of The Who)
  • The Pretty Things
  • The Action
  • The Move
  • The Easybeats
  • The Troggs
  • The Zombies


Examples of Mod movies/TV shows include:

  • Ready Steady Go! (1963 - 1966)
  • A Hard Day's Night (1964)
  • Blowup (1966)
  • Catch Us If You Can (1966)
  • Ferry Cross the Mersey (1965)
  • Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? (1966)
  • To Sir With Love (1967)
  • Smashing Time (1967)
  • The Prisoner (1967-1968)
  • The Touchables (1968)
  • Wonderwall (1968)
  • The Mod Squad (1968-1973)
  • Quadrophenia (1979)
  • The Austin Powers films (1997-2002)
  • The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
  • Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries (2019-present)
  • The Queen's Gambit (2020)


External links to help get a better understanding of this aesthetic. Vendors